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November 2014

Free conference on pacifism and WW1

The Idea Store Whitechapel, 321Whitechapel Road London E1 1BU
Wednesday 3 December between 10am and 12.15pm.

I will be speaking at this event and it would be good to meet you if you are able to get along. There will also be speakers from the Quakers and Veterans for Peace UK.

The audience at the Idea Store will include Sixth Form students as well as pupils from Year 9 so apart from anything else I'm excited about the opportunity to try out some of our new teaching and learning materials on some real live youngsters!

I will, at the beginning of December, just have finished contributing to a number of Continuing Professional Development Events organised by the Institute of Education. These events have been organised for those teachers who are accompanying pupils to First World War battlefields and it will give the PPU an opportunity to provide teachers with a different perspective on WW1from that which is often shared with school children.

The Military and Schools
I have been contacting schools across the country about ideas for conducting Remembrance Assemblies that have a different focus from those that tend to be military focused whilst promoting the notion of the "glorious sacrifice of the fallen". The PPU want teachers to raise fundamental questions about how and why wars start and to consider what it is that young people should be remembering about the wholesale industrial scale slaughter of people never mind the need for questioning the whole notion that war and armed conflict are inevitable tools of foreign policy.

It was interesting to note how these schools' websites were portraying different approaches and ethos about themselves to the world. No more so was this difference apparent than in a minority of educational establishments where the military in one form or another appeared to be given top billing.

It makes you wonder what message is being sent when one of the first images you see in a school is one of a be medalled officer surrounded by smiling teenagers (St Mary's Catholic High School, Derby) http://www.st-maryshigh.derbyshire.sch.uk/ .

What 's the meaning behind the picture of a group of young pupils from Blandford School, Dorset clustered on the deck of the nuclear submarine, HMS Torbay. http://www.blandford.dorset.sch.uk

State schools like Gloucester Academy (http://www.gloucesteracademy.com) and Loughborough High School http://www.leshigh.org/
celebrate their Cadet Corps whilst its probably best if you are of nervous disposition to just stay clear of the Duke of York's, Royal Military School

My rather superficial trawl through some school sites does however seem to confirm the steadily increasing pernicious influence of the military in our state education system. If any of you have any time to take a look at school websites and you come across military related information and/or images I would welcome you alerting me to their location.

This could complement the sterling and much appreciated work being undertaken by our colleagues at ForcesWatch http://www.forceswatch.net/


Peter Glasgow